Since beginning the season as the hottest team in MLB, the Atlanta Braves have been right around the .500 mark; and while their lead in the NL East still sits at seven games over the second-place Philadelphia Phillies, they could have had a double-digit advantage by now if they would have been able to keep up their initial high level of play.
The Braves are currently 56-44, which is pretty good after 100 games. But over the final 62 games of the season, they need to get hot again and run away with the division. It has been much too long since they were hitting the cover off the ball on a consistent basis, drumming opponent after opponent in the process.
Outfielder Justin Upton needs to start cracking home runs at a blistering pace again, while brother and fellow outfielder B.J. Upton needs to get healthy and return with a vengeance. First baseman Freddie Freeman and third baseman Chris Johnson need to continue their consistent performances, and starting pitchers like Kris Medlen and Paul Maholm need to put an end to the streaky pitching they’ve displayed throughout 2013.
The time is now for the Braves to get things going. They can’t continue to flounder because they need to reestablish themselves as one of the top teams in baseball, beginning with Wednesday’s road game against the New York Mets. Tim Hudson will get the ball and look to move above .500 on the year, and Atlanta must provide him with plenty of runs.
After all, both him and the Braves are much better than .500 performers. Now it’s time to prove it.